Smith scores third consecutive ton to propel Australia to 389/7 (Lunch Report)

Melbourne, Dec 27 (IANS) Skipper Steven Smith scored his seventh Test century, his third successive hundred in the series, to propel Australia to a strong 389 for seven at lunch on day two of the third Test against India at the Melbourne Cricket Ground here Saturday.

Continuing his incredible form in the series, Smith (batting 128), first with wicketkeeper Brad Haddin (55) and then with Mitchell Johnson (28) put up important partnerships to put his team in a dominant position. Ryan Harris was batting on 10 with Smith at lunch.

Resuming the day at 259 for five, overnight unbeaten batsmen Smith and Haddin began confidently with the keeper-batsman being more aggressive of the two. India peppered him with a lot of short balls, hoping to shake him up and exposing his perceived weakness to bouncers.
But Haddin was equal to the task and was willing to take on what was offered him, pulling and hooking merrily to score runs at a fast clip, reaching his half-century of 75 balls.
Smith on the other hand began more sedately. He took his time to get going but smoothly reached his third hundred of the series, flicking a fuller length ball fine on the leg side to reach the feat.
His hundred came off 191 balls with nine fours and a six, making him the first Australian captain to score centuries in each of his first two Tests as skipper and fourth overall after South Africa’s Jackie McGlew, India Vijay Hazare and England’s Alastair Cook.
The signs were ominous for India as their bowlers failed to learn from their mistakes and continued bowling short, making it easier for Smith and Haddin to score freely.
The duo soon put up their 100-run partnership and was looking good for more. But Haddin wss dismissed completely against the run of play when he hesitated to play or leave a Mohammed Shami delivery, succeeding only to edge it to wicket keeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni. It was Shami’s third wicket of the innings.
But Smith continued the run feast with Mitchell Johnson (28) to lead Australia to a formidable first innings total.